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A beautiful piece of machinery

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Review by adrianpglover posted 120 days ago 3411 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A beautiful piece of machinery A beautiful piece of machinery No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’m new to posting on this site. When I first got into woodworking, about 2-3 years ago, a coworker loaned me a Shopsmith Mark V from the 1970s. It worked ok for what I was doing, but the tiny table, difficulty in doing bevel cuts, and the fact that the table would lean into the blade if enough weight was put on it led me to the decision to get a different saw for myself. Don’t get me wrong, the Shopsmith is a good product for what it is. It’s a great multi-use product. However, if you need to make a cut on a board, then drill a hole in it, then make another cut on it, it takes quite a while between with all of the tool changeover that you have to do. This made it quite cumbersome when I was building the crib, cradle, and changing table for my daughter. I’m going to miss it when my coworker finally takes it back. I don’t have a belt/disc sander or drill press. I don’t use the lathe on the Shopsmith and don’t have one myself. Just didn’t get into wood turning.

Before deciding on this saw, I read every possible review I could find on it. I found the reviews for the similar base models on this site to be the most helpful in my decisions, as well as the comments. I decided upon the G1023RLWX because I don’t quite have the room for seven foot fence rails and I like the idea of a very stable, large router table built in. As for the 5 HP motor, I didn’t see it as a requirement. I had just added a second 50 A, 220 VAC sub-panel in my garage, so I knew I had power to spare. The 5 HP motor didn’t cost that much extra, so I figured it would just lead to a longer life and possibly the ability to run a 10” stacked dado set (which I don’t have yet, but really want). I spent over a year looking at various brands and models of saws. Many times I had settled on this saw or that saw, but this is the one that I finally landed on.

My wife purchased this saw for me just before Christmas of last year. It took a little bit of back an forth with Grizzly, but they had the truck service deliver the saw inside my garage, which may have been a challenge for my wife to do on her own. When I got home that day, there was a crate in the garage and the minivan was in the driveway. A pleasant surprise to come home to!

I didn’t take any pictures of the packaging, but the box had a pretty good sized tear in it and the cheap pine pallet that the saw was bolted to was almost completely destroyed. The delivery company had put it onto a standard oak pallet so they could move it around with a pallet jack.

Dis-assembly of the box went easy and quickly filled up my 2 car garage with parts. There were no missing parts. I only found damage in three places:
1) The peg part of the latch on the right access door was smashed (and the bottom of the door was scratched up pretty good). When the saw was packaged, they had a box of parts sitting just under this door. It appears that the saw had seen a jolt which made this box (I believe it was the router table or the left access door box) come in contact with the door, causing the damage. The Left door was in a separate box. I don’t know why they had the right access door installed, but the damage could have been avoided by a slightly different packaging scheme. Grizzly had no problem shipping me a new door. Evidently they don’t stock just the peg. They were very responsive about the request and quick to ship the part out.
2) Looking at the pallet where the tie down brackets were installed showed that the saw had slid back and forth. This lead to some paint chipping on the base of the saw where the tie down brackets were in contact with the saw. The tie down brackets are a simple piece of folded metal which hooks on the underside of the saw with a small “U” channel and has two lag screws into the pallet. They have two on one side of the saw, and two on the opposing side of the saw. This restricts the movement in one direction in relation to the pallet, but does nothing for the other direction. An addition of two more of these brackets on the other two sides would solve this. But again, the saw stayed attached to the pallet and it was only chipped paint, which I couldn’t care less about.
3) The router table inserts were packed in the same box as the router table, inside of a bag without any protection from the table itself. This sounds ok, since they’re both made of steel. However, the inserts were dinged up enough and the tolerances were tight enough that they wouldn’t fit into the router table itself. A little bit of filing while sitting at my desk at work reading datasheets took care of this.

All in all, the damage was pretty minor. The only other things that we found damaged was the packaging. There was broken styrofoam in the fence box which almost led to a broken or smashed fence cursor, but I lucked out there.

The cosmoline came off decently well with a can of WD-40, some rags, and elbow grease. To get into the crevasses, I used a cheap toothbrush. There were a few spots that were more difficult than others, like the miter slots, the table insert itself, and the router table insert hole.

After removing the cosmoline, I walked the saw off of the two pallets and onto my Rockler “All-Terrain Mobile Base”. I picked up the mobile base at the Black Friday sale for around $165 and they gave me a $25 gift card to go with it, which I used on a Forrest WWII blade. Moving the saw onto the mobile base myself was the task which I was most worried about. I’m about 5’11” and 125 lbs and was honestly a bit scared of ending up underneath the saw. It wasn’t that bad at all. I have an 800 lbs piano that I had to lay on it’s back once to change the casters and thought that this task would be comparable to that. In the end, I was over-thinking it, as is pretty normal for an engineer to do. And by the way, I love this mobile base. When the four wheels are locked down, there’s no movement in it at all, and then they’re unlocked it’s very easy to roll the saw around and change direction in the saw. The only issue I’ve found with it is that the casters are mounted a 1/4” lower than the fixed wheels. I mentioned this in my review of the mobile base on Rockler’s site. There is a little gap between the mobile base and the saw, so I filled this with some small strips that I cut on a bevel to serve as a wedge. I mainly did this to keep the saw from moving around on the mobile base if I’m ever moving the saw and the base gets caught on a rock or something. I haven’t ever had it move around, but thought it best safe than sorry.

The rest of the saw assembly and alignment went fine. The miter slot didn’t need any alignment. The 0 and 45 degree stops needed only slight adjustment, as did the fence to miter slot parallelism. I got the “Master Plate” as a gift for Christmas to help with the alignment of the saw. It works well for a flat surface to bolt to things to check angles. It’s a simple piece of equipment and there’s not much else to say about it. I did have to fiddle with the riving knife/spreader alignment a bit. It took longer than I expected to perform this adjustment, but I have found it worth my while to do.

I had to deburr the mounting holes on the fence faces. They had a slight bur. It’s wasn’t a lot, but I don’t want the wood catching on something while I’m trying to make a cut. I’m not impressed with the miter gauge. It works ok, but the angle can be difficult to read as the marker is rather large and high above the scale, and the stops have a lot of play in them. It’s best to check your angle with a protractor when using this gauge. It works well for holding the wood against and sliding through the cut when doing crosscutting, but I don’t like it much past that. I don’t have any replacement picked out for this as of yet, but probably will replace or modify it in the future.

I do notice the parallax error that some others have complained about with the magnified fence cursor. It works ok for me. I just lean from one side to the other and try to see if I’m even between the marks before I lock the fence down. I provided a small piece of 1/4” plexiglass to a co-worker who has a machine shop at home and he fashioned a simple cursor for the use on the left side of the fence. For this one I had him scribe a line on both the top and bottom. This gives me two lines to line up, which removes the parallax error from the equation. For the left side scale, I cut 10” off of a 6’ metal scale I picked up from Rockler a while back on sale. Now what do I do with the other 5’2”?

I mounted the fixed base of my Dewalt DW618PK to the router table. The mounting mechanism isn’t impressive, but it works. The table inserts for the router have to be shimmed by 0.020”, but other than that it’s just a hole in a large table. The coworker who made the cursor for me is also going to provide me with a circular shim for this within the next few days. I haven’t made my router fence yet, but it will be one of my next shop tasks, after making a tenoning jig and second zero clearance insert.

Another modification I’ve done to this saw was to add the Board Buddies. I’ve found them useful when ripping boards of a certain minimum width, but past that they stay off of the saw. I attached them by drilling and tapping some holes into the tubing of the fence. I then had to shim the track with 1/4 inch plywood to get the Board Buddies to sit above the fence face.

I chose to coat the exposed cast iron surface of the table, including miter slots, router mounting point, router and table insert area, and the exposed metal surface of the main fence tube with SlipIt. The SlipIt works ok for reducing friction, but I’m honestly using it more as a way to keep the saw from rusting without having something that will soak into the wood and mess up my staining. I can’t really compare it to other products, as I haven’t used any others. I plan on using it on some of my other tools which have a cast aluminum tables after a good sanding. Hopefully it will help with the friction on those surfaces. I have found it very useful for reducing the squeaks in door hinges. It lies somewhere between a wax and a liquid. It holds it’s form, but will sometimes have a small puddle of liquid when you open the can.

After all of this, I wired up the saw. The manual tells you to hard-wire the saw to a 30 A service. The manual for the previous version told you to use the 30 A twist lock plug (NEMA L6-30). Seeing as how I use these type of connectors constantly at work and am comfortable with them, this is what I connected to the saw. I did so by using 15~20 feet of 10 AWG SJOOW wire. When I’m not using the saw, I turn the breaker off. When I’m through in the shop for the night, I unplug the saw. When I have little ones running around the shop, I install the padlock on the start button.

Once I had everything fully assembled, I locked the casters down, lowered the table leg levels, and turned on the saw with a nickel on edge. The nickel didn’t budge. I didn’t try sawing anything during the nickel test. I may have to go back an do this again sometime. I tried using a dime too, but the dime wouldn’t stand on edge with the saw off.

I have since also added the zero clearance insert, H4231, to the saw. I did this because I had a large chip (3×2x1/8) wedge between the blade and the standard insert, causing the blade to sing and gouge the wood that I was cutting at the time. Cutting the slot in this went fine. I ran into some issue when I went to cut the slot for the riving knife. I’m not that good with a coping saw, so my cut wasn’t straight. In straightening up the cut with a file and chisel, I knocked off a small chip on the top side of the insert. It looks to be more cosmetic, but it is still a constant reminder of my goof.

The upper blade guard seems to work well. I have a couple of issues with it. The first is something that I read on another review, which is that if you lower the blade with the anti-kickback paws down, they’ll dig into the table plate (P/N P1023RL125). I have had to make a repair to this guard already. A larger chip was thrown by saw, wedged between the “Clear Front Guard” (P/N P1023RL307) and a blade tooth, snapping the blade guard piece and throwing both of them behind me on the floor. It was rather startling. It snapped off near the mounting point, so I just put two new mounting holes in it and reattached it. It’s just a piece of cheap plexiglass after all. The only other modification that I’ve performed to this guard was to removed the “Front Bracket” (P/N P1023RL324). I did this because when you lower the blade, just as the blade goes below the table, this piece makes contact with the table. If I forgot about this fact, which I frequently did, the guard would get bent to one side. There was no permanent damage, but I just didn’t like it.

All in all, I love this saw. It is the centerpiece of my shop and I love using it. I don’t get to use it as often as I like, but there are other tasks in woodworking than using a table saw. If I had to do it again, I’d still get this saw. The only things I may want to add to it are the outfeed rollers and maybe the 7 foot rails, if I move somewhere with a bigger shop.




View adrianpglover's profile

adrianpglover

35 posts in 121 days



8 comments so far

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#1 posted 120 days ago

Woaaaa!
This is quite a review, for a first post you did excellent.
I bought a fox shop fence to install on my Unisaw and it came with one of this magnifying cursor.
I hated the thing.
I replaced it with a piece of Plexiglas, which works just fine.
Excellent review.
Thank you.

-- Bert

View Pie's profile

Pie

183 posts in 2003 days


#2 posted 120 days ago

Helluva review.
I have had the exact same saw for about 1 year. I also have the router insert. Seems I have the same DC as well, great minds think alike lol. One addition I made this past Christmas was the INCRA Miter 5000. Needless to say, my miters cut nice and clean, and my crosscuts are a breeze.

Anyway, nice review, I haven’t had one issue with mine, seems well built.

-- Pie

View sawdustjunkie's profile

sawdustjunkie

119 posts in 315 days


#3 posted 120 days ago

Don’t know if I need the 5hp, but I am hoping I can replace my 113 Craftsman this summer.
Great review

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View Ken90712's profile

Ken90712

14821 posts in 1787 days


#4 posted 120 days ago

Great review, I will be looking at this saw this weekend up at grizzly’s showroom in Washington this weekend. I have it narrowed down to 2 different Grizzly’s or a Laguna or a SawStop… What are your thoughts about he router table not having any miter slots? That is the one thing I dont seem to care for on this.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View adrianpglover's profile

adrianpglover

35 posts in 121 days


#5 posted 119 days ago

Honestly, all of the router bits I have used have bearings, so there’s not much of a need for either a fence or miter slots. So far it hasn’t been an issue. I was actually just working on making the router fence before I drove in to work this morning. I won’t complete the fence until I have a need to use it. That way I can adjust the clearance for whatever bit I end up using it with.

This router table is actually also an upgrade for me from the Ryobi A25RT02 sold at Home Depot. I used that router table about twice, and then in a double car garage shop with a minivan, it ended up being an overly large step stool and a knee knocker. I sold it along with a cheap Black and Decker router to a friend for $50.

I was on the fence for the longest time between a Sawstop and a Grizzly. In the end I guess it just came down to that I wanted something nice but I didn’t want to pay way too much for it. Also, I don’t plan on ever having to purchase another saw.

View adrianpglover's profile

adrianpglover

35 posts in 121 days


#6 posted 119 days ago

Last night I changed out the 1/4 inch shim under the Board Buddies track with a 0.09” shim I ripped out of a piece of red oak scrap. This brought down the top edge of the track to the same height or just lower than the height of the PTFE fence faces.

Also, I forgot to mention that I filled all the holes between the cabinet base and the cast iron top as well as the bevel angle slot on the front of the saw (visible in the picture above) with some packing foam. I did this in an attempt to improve the dust collection below the table. Between this and the zero clearance insert, I have the feeling that I’m just starving the DC for air.

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4286 posts in 1646 days


#7 posted 119 days ago

‘I have the feeling that I’m just starving the DC for air”
You are probably correct, you need to let air in for it to get out with the dust.

-- Bert

View NormG's profile

NormG

3987 posts in 1602 days


#8 posted 119 days ago

Congrats, great saw

-- Norman

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